Bus driver strikes in Preston and Chorley SUSPENDED after new pay offer received from Stagecoach

Bus drivers outside Chorley bus station
Bus drivers outside Chorley bus station
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Imminent bus driver strikes across Preston and Chorley have been suspended after a new pay offer was presented to staff.

Some 300 Stagecoach bus drivers were expected to go on strike on Saturday (June 29), as well as a dozen dates in July, as pay talks continued to break down.

Bus drivers outside Preston bus station

Bus drivers outside Preston bus station

The drivers, belonging to the Unite union, first went on strike for six days in May and early June followed by a second round of strike dates announced for later June.

But this afternoon the next four strike days - Saturday (June 29) and next Thursday, Friday, and Saturday (July 4, 5, and 6) - have been cancelled after an "improved offer" was given to bus drivers.

John Boughton, regional industrial organiser at Unite the Union, said: "They're suspended while we ballot members on an improved offer that has been given today."

Members had been fighting for a 50p pay rise to £11.

Bus drivers outside Chorley bus station

Bus drivers outside Chorley bus station

But while the offer on the table was not revealed, Mr Boughton said: "It's suffice to say we are recommending our members accept this offer.

"I believe common sense has prevailed and they have listened to what our members have said. The deal on the table reflects on that.

"It's a reasonable offer from the company and we would not recommend it was accepted if it wasn't worthy recommending.

"It's taken a number of days of disputes to get here but we have come to a consensus and a deal worth considering."

The ballot will take place on Wednesday (July 3) and Thursday (July 4) so Unite can explain the deal to members and give as many people as possible the opportunity to vote.

A Stagecoach spokesman said: "The union has informed us of their decision to cancel strike action for Saturday 29th June as well as Thursday 4th, Friday 5th and Saturday 6th July.

"All routes and timetables will operate as normal.

"We advise customers to keep an eye out on social media and on the Stagecoach website for details about further potential strike action."

Mr Boughton added: "I'd like to give an apology to the public affected by this but it was the only way to effectively get the company back round the negotiation table for an improved offer.

"It was a last resort. We had no deliberate intention to disrupt the travelling public but it was our only means."

On Thursday (June 27) Preston Council overwhelming passed an emergency notice of motion issued by Couns Matthew Brown, Lynne Brooks, Pav Akhtar, Martyn Rawlinson and Jono Grisdale supporting the "fair pay demands" issued by the bus drivers.